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GRCS Weekly Social Work Support — May 12, 2020

GRCS Weekly Social Work Support

May 12, 2020

Dear Parents and Students, 

Whether you’re scrolling through social media, reading the news, listening to recent podcasts, or even skimming through our weekly emails, you’re probably hearing a lot of the same message: take care of your mental and physical health during this time. Something that might feel somewhat frustrating about that message is the simplicity it implies and not knowing how, exactly, to put that suggestion into practice during the circumstances of a pandemic.

A theoretical lens often used in school social work support combines both the cognitive and behavioral theory (an approach also known as CBT) to explain why emotions occur and what to do with the difficult feelings. CBT is based on the idea that what we say to ourselves (cognition) and how we act (behavioral) influences how we feel.

Have you ever heard someone say, “just be happy?” Well, we can’t wish happiness into existence, we have to take action by becoming aware and challenging unhelpful thoughts or doing an activity that brings joy. 

Quick Tip of the Week: Use your thoughts and actions to influence your feelings.

  • Think Intentionally: Use positive self-talk; focusing on strengths and affirmations.
    • Talk to yourself the way you would encourage a friend.
    • Challenge and replace negative thoughts with more realistic, positive ones.
    • Check out this CBT triangle for some guided practice! 
  • Act Wisely: Use mindfulness or relaxation techniques to help slow and calm your body.
    • Try coloring a Mandala (pick an image, save, then print or use the color online feature!).
    • Or choose an activity-based coping tool like exercising, going for a walk, or even a task like helping with yard work.
    • See this diagram for other ways to use CBT at home!
  • Notice and Accept Feelings: As we focus on our thoughts and actions, we also want to notice what feelings we may be experiencing in response — as a guide for future thoughts and actions.
  • Revisit: some of these cognitive and behavioral coping skills that can also help support your thoughts, actions, and feelings.

With the end of the school year in sight, school social work support will also be coming to an end soon. If you think further social/emotional support will be needed over the summer please reach out to discuss options to talk about outside therapeutic support. 

This work isn’t simple or easy. It takes hard work to change how you feel and practice healthy coping skills, especially when circumstances are out of our control and motivation/resources are low. Continue to rely on God by asking for strength and comfort: “He is before all things, and in Him, all things hold together.” —Colossians 1:17

In Christ, 
Grace Boyle (gboyle@grcs.org) & Casey McMahon (cmcmahon@grcs.org)
GRCS Social Workers